Do you know that scene in horror movies when the group of characters is suddenly split, and each of them is picked apart by the killer? Or when the lone protagonist enters a haunted hospital and has to survive against the angry ghosts of former patients who did not buy out insurance? Or that moment when…ok, I think by now you know what I’m getting at.
It is a universally known truth that going alone anywhere in a horror setting is a VERY bad idea! It’s better to stick with your party and face whatever threat is awaiting you together. The movies are yet to learn this lesson. Game developers, on the other hand, had realized that the story can still be scary when the players have to work together to outsmart the villain, or to have each other’s backs against the hordes of zombies, monsters or other nasties.
Survival games that rely on multiplayer are one of the most popular ones in the genre, successively dominating the horror market. Let’s take a look at some of the best representatives of that branch of the spooky family and see what multiplayer mechanics they have in store for the fans of everything scary.
The first entry on our list brings to the table a classic horror locale – a haunted swamp, inhabited by various breeds of monstrosities. Set in 1800s Louisiana, Hunt Showdown tells a story of a group of hunters who traverse the bayou in search of the monsters that terrorize the good folk of the Pelican State.
However, hunting hellhounds, spiders and water devils might be the easy part. The hard part begins when other hunting parties start getting in the way. It’s pretty hard to deliver proof of the kill to the deputy’s office with a gang of madmen is trying to riddle your hide with lead.
Hunt Showdown hands the player an array of deadly weapons to use – from revolvers and rifles to shotguns, sniper rifles and crossbows. The player can also upgrade their character with purchasable traits, such as health boost, reduced damage, increased carry and many more.
No More Room in Hell
|Release year||2013 (Steam beta)|
|Developer/Publisher||Matt “Maxx” Kazan (based on Valve’s Source engine)|
From a hellish corner of the Earth, we move to Earth during an active apocalypse. No More Room in Hell is another cooperative FPS, in which the players will have to face off against the hordes of the undead. As the title suggests, Satan’s domain has become a little bit overcrowded and the damned rise from their graves to wreak havoc on the surface, taking over entire cities.
NMRiH features two game modes. In Objective mode, the players have to escape the map overrun by hellish monstrosities, while carrying out various additional tasks. Several routes of doing it are available to increase the replayability. In Survival mode, the players’ job is to defend areas on the map against waves of the undead.
Minimal HUD, a variety of nasties and a creepy level design make this one a hard-to-pass up on for any fan of survival horrors.
No More Room in Hell is free to play.
Friday the 13th
A true legend in the horror genre, Jason Vorhees has been adapted for electronic entertainment multiple times. The most recent is the 2017’s Friday the 13th, in which a group of young people has to survive in various areas of Camp Crystal Lake, while hunted by the murderer with a machete.
The game features an asymmetric multiplayer with up to 8 participants, one of whom is controlling Jason. The Jason player is tasked with killing as many other players as possible, while the potential victims’ task is to escape the map alive, carrying out optional objectives along the way.
The victim players aren’t helpless against the mighty Jason, being able to use various projectiles to stun the monster. Vorhees, however, can sense the presence of his prey, so getting an angle on him won’t be easy.
White Noise 2
A sequel to White Noise Online, White Noise 2 once gain puts a group of investigators in the way of mysterious creatures. Similarly, to the previous entry on our list, WN 2 is an asymmetric multiplayer experience, where one of the participants controls the monster, while others play as the investigators. Finding clues to unlock the mystery of the area will not be easy with a devilish creature breathing down the player’s neck.
WN 2 offers a few interesting mechanics, for example when one of the investigators is killed by the monster, they can return as a ghost to help others in their search. The game also includes a Relive mode, in which the players can laugh at their antics and see who got lost first and who got eaten by the beast the fastest.
|Developer/Publisher||Hype Train Digital, Nearga|
In DESOLATE, the player controls the character of a Volunteer, a member of the New Light Conglomerate, the founder of which is responsible for the monsters roaming the world right now. The player travels to the island of Granichny, the epicenter of the cataclysmic event, to reverse the process.
The game uses its open-world environment to great effect – the player has a free choice of how they want to explore the island. The game tracks various needs of the player character, including hunger, thirst, and exhaustion, which can be replenished with medical supplies found around the island. In combat, melee is the preferable option of dealing with enemies, as ammo is scarce and not easy to find.
The title of this game could very well be the slogan of this article. Stay Close emphasizes cooperation between the players in traversing the haunted mansion and the surrounding areas.
The players will have to learn strategic thinking as the nasties waiting in the shadows will waste no time to kill when they catch the players unawares. Exploring the environment, evading the monsters and trying to solve the riddle of the house make for the core gameplay mechanics of this survival-horror.
Another asymmetric survival-horror on our list. Last Year puts the players in the shoes of five high school students who must survive the night locked in the hellish version of their town, inhabited monstrous fiends.
The fiends can be controlled by the sixth player. The game focuses on cooperation between the players and building rapport, as it unlocks skills and abilities necessary to survive in the Nightmare dimension.
7 Days to Die
|Developer/Publisher||The Fun Pimps|
7 Days to Die takes the player into the post-apocalyptic future. After the Third World War, many areas on the planet have become uninhabitable. The ones that survived are now infested with mutated zombies.
The player’s task is to survive in such a hostile environment by finding and fortifying their shelter, gathering food and supplies and fighting off the mutants, which after 7 days of in-game time will assault the player’s hideout in great numbers – lack of sufficient preparations means death. The multiplayer mode of the game allows the players to work together or against each other depending on the chosen server.
The Forest invites the player to the Peninsula – a heavily forested region, inhabited by violent natives. The player controls Eric LeBlanc, who was traveling with his son when their plane crashed on the Peninsula. When the boy is kidnapped by a mysterious creature, Eric must scour the region in order to find him.
The game features mechanics similar to 7 Days to Die – the player has to collect resources to create shelter and weapons as well as gather food to keep themselves healthy. The inhabitants of the Peninsula will occasionally attack the player, it is necessary to be well prepared for that time.
The Forest features a multiplayer mode where the players cooperate to survive in a hostile environment.
Killing Floor 2
Killing Floor 2 pits the players against a zombie apocalypse on a massive scale. The hordes of Zeds attack in waves, each of them larger than the other, culminated with an extremely dangerous boss.
The players’ job is to survive each wave, using various weapons and tools, as well as skills specific to the class of the character chosen by the player. The players level up their character by killing the zombies and completing the levels, increasing the stats of their skill.
|Developer/Publisher||Techland, Techland Publishing|
Dying Light throws the player into yet another zombie apocalypse. Set in an open world environment, the game tasks the player with surviving against the odds, presented by dwindling supplies and hordes of zombies roaming about the area.
DL’s main features include a robust arsenal of melee weapons, a day-and-night cycle, which affects the behavior of the zombies, and complex crafting mechanics. Cooperative multiplayer allows up to 4 participants to take on the game world, carrying out various challenges.
Dead by Daylight
|Developer/Publisher||Behaviour Interactive, Starbreeze Studios|
Thematically similar to Last Year and White Noise 2, Dead by Daylight tasks the players to evade and escape the killer, controlled by another player. The core mechanic revolves around fixing generators around the small arena in order to open the gate and exit the level.
Meanwhile, the player-controlled monstrosity continues to chase their prey – when caught, the victims become sacrifices to the gods of the game. Thanks to the claustrophobic atmosphere, the pressure of time and an abundance of jump scares from the killer suddenly appearing, playing DbD can really get the blood pumping.
World War Z
|Developer/Publisher||Saber Interactive, Mad Dog Games|
Much like Killing Floor 2, World War Z focuses on cooperation between the players and survival against the hordes of undead.
The mechanics are also pretty similar – the players choose a character from several different classes and must survive wave after wave of increasingly stronger zombies, as well as defeat the boss at the end of the level.
The game features several modes, including a Player vs Player vs Zombie, where the player teams fight against each other as well as the undead horde.
|Developer/Publisher||Techland, Deep Silver|
An open world setting seems to invite trouble on our list. Set in a tropical paradise of Banoi, Dead Island combines melee, and later on firearm, combat mechanics and exploration of the environment.
The main features include four playable characters in the game, each possessing a unique skill to survive the zombie apocalypse, a leveling up system through which the player gains experience points to expand their skill tree as well as weapon upgrades.
Left 4 Dead
|Developer/Publisher||Valve South, Valve|
Left 4 Dead asks a lot of difficult questions about our nature and how we would behave during the apocalypse – would we sacrifice our friends to the horde in order to survive or would we try to save them no matter what?
L4D is also all about cooperation – and a careful one at that! The overwhelming hordes of zombies will stop at nothing to corner the players in tight alleys, so the key to survival is careful planning of each step and also maybe not getting each other in the way that much. With friendly fire enabled, it’s not too hard to end on a receiving end of a shotgun to the head.